Like blind caterpillars can distinguish colors?

Color mimicry is one of the most important mechanisms to survive some types of animals and insects. Scientists still do not fully know how the mechanism works, and continue to conduct research in this direction. In one of them they tried to find out how the caterpillar determine the color that they need to mimic. The study they came to a very unexpected conclusion, which perhaps has its explanation. Caterpillar did not expect such an experiment, but has forced scholars to think about it even more.

Examples of mimicry in nature

The mechanism of color mimicry came from animals and insects in the course of evolution. As is usually the case in natural selection survival of the fittest individuals. A change of color helps the living beings to merge with their environment.

Simple examples of this adaptation can serve as the caterpillars which pretend to be twigs, or hare, which during the autumn moult the colour changes to a lighter one. It allows him to most effectively hide from predators in the snow.

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Scientists blinded caterpillars for the experiment

To shed light on issues of color mimicry among caterpillars decided biologists at the University of Liverpool under the guidance of Ilica Saccheri (Ilik Saccheri). For the experiment, they selected a group of caterpillars birch moth (Biston betularia). In the caterpillar stage of this insect can dynamically change color, adapting to the environment.

In this species the caterpillars have tiny receptors which are called ocelii. Eye contains only one lens. Unlike compound eyes, ocelii not divided into ommatidia (structural and functional unit of the compound eyes). Their scientists and blacked out, depriving caterpillars to see the color of their environment.

Many previous investigations have shown that insects adapt to environmental conditions is due to the visual system. For example, in one experiment, Indian stick insects are mainly to adjust your color the color of the paint you used to paint their eyes.

Do you have caterpillar eyes

As tools for research in the experiment consisted of sticks of different colors, which are planted and caterpillars. One of the sticks was white, the second black, the third brown and one green.

Half of the tracks ocelii painted over, but the second half is not. Then alternately put on different sticks, and even though filled azelie, caterpillar changed color under the environmental conditions in which was. It should be noted that the result was not hundred percent, but significantly higher than the probability of a random match. The blind caterpillar 75-80 percent in the case of choosing the color correctly.

This is a very good indicator, which clearly shows that this species has the ability of photoreception, an ventricules. Further investigation revealed that in different places of their bodies is a light — sensitive photoreceptors are opsins. This allows them to identify the color of the surrounding objects not only through the organs of vision.

On the one hand, the results of the experiment can be called meaningless. On the other hand, this opens a whole new mechanism of adaptation in the live environment. If it was thought that the reading of information is possible only at the expense of the organs of vision, we now realize that it is not. Scientists, in turn, will continue to explore this interesting and promising mechanism.

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